informal life

by Tassos Lockbird


The common theme in this week’s readings is an “informality”, whether we are talking about an informal city, an informal economy or an informal way of living, in a more general sense. The juxtaposition of all the, literally, informal cities Davis is describing in Slum Ecology along with the informal structuring of Tijuana and the informal economy of India, is making me think about the reason of this “informality”. Since we’re dealing with the “waste” of the “formal cities”, the flesh and bones of the “informal cities”, we cannot apply the same rules and regimes, I suppose. Instead of building a city following a conventional way, Tijuana is being built with San Diego’s “leftovers”, in the most “informal” way, opening up the road for all kinds of “informal” interactions and circumstances, creating parallel economic systems, similar to those in India, where it seems there has been an “informal government” as well, since the “formal” one was not doing it’s job properly. The first word that came to mind during this week is “post-apocalyptic” and is making me think of an awfully dark future, but, countries like Brazil, that try to incorporate the informal sector into the formal one, have seen positive results. It is almost logical that an informal city needs an informal way of dealing with its issues.


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